Apple invites iPhone developers to test live Push Notifications

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple on Thursday began inviting many of its iPhone developers to begin live testing of applications that will make use of the company's upcoming Push Notifications service.



"Start testing your applications using the Apple Push Notification service today," the company said in an email blast to registered iPhone developers. "Log in to the iPhone Dev Center and review the Apple Push Notification Programming Guide and Getting Started video."



Apple explained that Team Agents can log in to the iPhone Developer Program Portal and proceed to the App ID section to perform the necessary steps needed for developers to enable and test applications using the new service.



Under development for nearly a year now, the push notifications service is Apple's alternative to allowing true background processes -- which chew up system resources and rapidly drain battery life -- on its iPhone and iPod touch handhelds.



Instead, the iPhone maker's approach calls for applications that can quit but continue to "listen" for data on a universal network channel capable of sending messages and other notifications. This frees up system resources while still permitting applications, such as instant message clients, to keep an ear out for incoming transmissions.



While previewing iPhone Software 3.0 last month, which will be the first version of the software to support the push service, iPhone software chief Scott Forstall said devices running rival mobile operating systems from RIM and Microsoft see standby time fall by 80 percent or more with background processes enabled.



In contrast, Apple's tests show its push notification system inflicts only a 23 percent hit on standby time when enabled. It will allow developers to push a handful of different notifications to users who request the updates, namely icon badges, text messages, and alert sounds.







Until today, live testing of the push notification service was believed to be restricted to an extremely small subset of developers. While seeding iPhone Software 3.0 beta 2 last week, Apple told developers that they could begin writing applications that make use of the service, but warned that access to test those applications live would be limited at first, gradually expanding to more developers over time.



In its email Thursday, Apple also encouraged developers to join the Apple Developer Forums to communicate with other developers using the Apple Push Notification service, reporting any issues they uncover using the Apple Bug Reporter tool.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 67
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,727member
    It's good to see that things are moving forwards.
  • Reply 2 of 67
    This is one of the features I am really excited about.
  • Reply 3 of 67
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    It's good to see that things are moving forwards.



    Yes it is. This was the main reason I decided to install v3.0 Beta on my iPhone knowing that I couldn't ever go back to v2.x after doing it. There are some nice updates coming but Push Notifications are the most important to me. Now bring Beta 3 and release Meebo w/Push to the App Store.
  • Reply 4 of 67
    8corewhore8corewhore Posts: 833member
    Tick, tock ... I can't wait!
  • Reply 5 of 67
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    I guess it's too much to hope for at this point, but I really wish Apple could come up with some kind of unified notifications screen, assignable as a home screen (plus dock for primary apps). Maybe "above" the existing home screen? In practice that would work much like Android's pull-down notification screen, with docked icon badges working like the top bar alerts.



    Using changes to the icon badge is cool, but pop-up notifications proliferating from multiple apps is not.
  • Reply 6 of 67
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    QotD: We've seen Apple's vendor controlled and run App Store being copied* by Google and RiM, should we also expect that Push Notification servers will be copied as well, even if other vendors allow for bona fide** background apps***?



    * I know that there were app stores before Apple did it, but the way Apple is doing it seems to be the most successful and seems to be catching on.



    ** By "bona fide" I am referring to the Palm Pre really just offering their WebKit-based browser using HTML5's new local caching feature actually just being one app with multiple sessions running. But really, how many of these WebKit-based apps can be running at once before the system because bogged down and a battery drain?



    *** It's possible to offer 3rd-party app developers the option for using Push server and/or an actual background app, depending on the application type. For instance, an IM app could use a Push server while, right next to it a streaming audio app could run the background.
  • Reply 7 of 67
    w00masterw00master Posts: 101member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    I guess it's too much to hope for at this point, but I really wish Apple could come up with some kind of unified notifications screen, assignable as a home screen (plus dock for primary apps). Maybe "above" the existing home screen? In practice that would work much like Android's pull-down notification screen, with docked icon badges working like the top bar alerts.



    Using changes to the icon badge is cool, but pop-up notifications proliferating from multiple apps is not.



    It's because (imho, of course) the weakest aspect of the iphone (note: includes iPhone 3.0 features) is how the iPhone handles notifications. In my opinion, notifications on the iphone are simply horrid. It's here where Apple could really learn from their competitors. I'm still amazed that Apple went with the "pop-up metaphor" for notifications. We all know how popular pop-ups were on the web.



    I really hope in iPhone OS 4.0 that Apple revamps the entire notification system ESPECIALLY now that Push notifications are in the horizon.



    w00master
  • Reply 8 of 67
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    I guess it's too much to hope for at this point, but I really wish Apple could come up with some kind of unified notifications screen, assignable as a home screen (plus dock for primary apps). Maybe "above" the existing home screen? In practice that would work much like Android's pull-down notification screen, with docked icon badges working like the top bar alerts.



    Using changes to the icon badge is cool, but pop-up notifications proliferating from multiple apps is not.



    I'm with you and the unified notifications. Every time my phone vibrates I'll have to swipe through 4 or 5 pages of applications to figure out which one got a notification. A pull down menu like in android would be sweet. Or possibly a downwards swipe on any page of the home screen could bring up a special notifications page.
  • Reply 9 of 67
    Yeah I'm agreed on this one. I don't think another home screen is the solution but they need something because the pop-up notifications are really annoying and intrusive. You have to click them and can't do anything until you choose one option. The Pre seems to handle this pretty well and I've heard Android does as well. Also, I think as some have mentioned, we need notifications on the unlock screen. I would love say an option to click a Mail icon when there is a read message and then perform a slide to unlock to jump directly to the Mail app with the new messages shown. The slide to unlock could maybe change color and the other icons (if there are some), could be faded. If you change your mind about jumping to mail you could tap anywhere beside the unlock or the Mail button, which would return you to the regular unlock screen. Something along these lines would be great I think.



    Furthermore, let's see better app organization. I wouldn't be surprised if maybe Apple is leaving this to an updated iTunes when 3.0 is released though...



    Thoughts???



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    I guess it's too much to hope for at this point, but I really wish Apple could come up with some kind of unified notifications screen, assignable as a home screen (plus dock for primary apps). Maybe "above" the existing home screen? In practice that would work much like Android's pull-down notification screen, with docked icon badges working like the top bar alerts.



    Using changes to the icon badge is cool, but pop-up notifications proliferating from multiple apps is not.



  • Reply 10 of 67
    w00masterw00master Posts: 101member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CanadianMac2008 View Post


    Yeah I'm agreed on this one. I don't think another home screen is the solution but they need something because the pop-up notifications are really annoying and intrusive. You have to click them and can't do anything until you choose one option. The Pre seems to handle this pretty well and I've heard Android does as well. Also, I think as some have mentioned, we need notifications on the unlock screen. I would love say an option to click a Mail icon when there is a read message and then perform a slide to unlock to jump directly to the Mail app with the new messages shown. The slide to unlock could maybe change color and the other icons (if there are some, could be faded). If you change your mind about jumping to mail you could tap anywhere beside the unlock or the Mail button, which would return you to the regular unlock screen. Something along these lines would be great I think.



    Furthermore, let's see better app organization. I wouldn't be surprised if maybe Apple is leaving this to an updated iTunes when 3.0 is released though...



    Thoughts???



    Agree 100% on these thoughts. With all of the updates coming for iPhone 3.0, personally I really don't have that much more that I am missing EXCEPT for 2 things (as listed above): a revamped notification system (I like the Android/G1 methodology) and a way to better organize apps on the iPhone.



    I like the swipe idea, where if you swipe down, you'll see all of your notifications. Love that. Apple, are you listening? LOL



    w00master
  • Reply 11 of 67
    mrparetmrparet Posts: 18member
    How long until someone mirrors the instructional video? I'd like to see it.
  • Reply 12 of 67
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by w00master View Post


    Agree 100% on these thoughts. With all of the updates coming for iPhone 3.0, personally I really don't have that much more that I am missing EXCEPT for 2 things (as listed above): a revamped notification system (I like the Android/G1 methodology) and a way to better organize apps on the iPhone.



    I like the swipe idea, where if you swipe down, you'll see all of your notifications. Love that. Apple, are you listening? LOL



    w00master



    3.0 Sounds pretty perfect for me, pretty much everything I wanted all along and then some nice additions. Spotlight I am very excited for.



    However, while Push is good, there are some limitations obviously. Three things I'm thinking of:



    a) If you have an app like Loopt or an app that, as Palm has mentioned, lets you know where GPS is, will you get push notifications dependent on say your location? It doesn't seem like it will and that you would need the app open.



    b) Will apps like To Do's actually be able to remind you about an appointment? I'm guessing no once again, unless the app had a server side copy of your information in the app. That way your appointments would be stored in the cloud and simply synced up when you have a new one, like Mail, where you would download once you open it. This would be limited though from say Calendar as you would need a connection with the cloud. I'm not a developer so I don't know completely how the whole system works.



    c) No streaming audio. Say I have Pandora... it would be great if Apple could enable an API for streaming audio with only one being allowed to run at a time, ala iPod. Double click of Home could also be allowed to control whatever music is playing at the time, regardless of the source.



    Right now it sounds like Push will mainly be good for online services such as IM, Facebook, etc etc in other words services that already reside in the cloud - less useful for on device info.



    Anyone want to add their opinions on how flexible Push will be?



    Specifically in terms of what it will and will not be able to do? For example, could there, as I mentioned, be a server for a To-Do app that stores your appointments in the cloud and then pushes them to the Apple server? When you open the app it would then sync the tasks that are on the server. Thus the server would do the processing thus eliminating the need for background.
  • Reply 13 of 67
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,727member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CanadianMac2008 View Post




    Anyone want to add their opinions on how flexible Push will be?



    Obviously there are things it can't do.



    But I think that Push is just a step along the way. Once the capability of the device grows enough, has enough RAM for program space, and better power managements from all ends, then we'll see background apps running.



    It's not as though Apple has totally disguarded the idea.
  • Reply 14 of 67
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Obviously there are things it can't do.



    But I think that Push is just a step along the way. Once the capability of the device grows enough, has enough RAM for program space, and better power managements from all ends, then we'll see background apps running.



    It's not as though Apple has totally disguarded the idea.



    Oh no, I agree. I think Push is a great idea and applaud Apple doing so rather than going the easy route and simply enabling backgrounding. Given how my iPhone performs now without it, I definitely don't want backgrounding without better processing power.



    However, my question was more in reference to developers who might have some idea as to how well certain programs would function. As I do not have access to the SDK, I have no real way of knowing what exactly is possible. Push is great but I'm curious as to what will and will not be possible.
  • Reply 15 of 67
    arsanarsan Posts: 3member
    Half baked efforts are simply not going to be sufficient This is like fixing an airplane wing with duck-tape, it won't work! On my current iphone, I already have skype, using mobilesubstrate, backgrounder, you can simply have it as an application running in the background. Once you install the "backgrounder" and try it only for five minutes, you will understand how useless the whole notification system is. Quick example, let's say you listen to pandora radio, or in my case the iphone app for a public radio station and you want to do something totally outrageous like writing a text message WHILE listening, you should be able to do it, or am I missing something? Is it better to quit my radio show and read the email and relaunch the radio app? Why should I tolerate that?



    Or, let's say you want to go for a jog and use the "running gypsy" application which is great to track where you went running, time, distance, pace, etc., and you have your ipod and want to change the play list or podcast, and since you can't truly run it in the background, the application won't work anymore, no notification system can solve this problem, I need the GPS data, pace data and once the app is quit, it won't be recorded. Before the "backgrounder" application, I had to create smart playlist of my podcasts in a certain order so that once I launch the running gypsy program, I would never have to quit the app. Why do I have to tolerate that?



    The competition is not sitting still. The excuse of battery life, lack of processing power simply is not credible when even windows mobile units can do it, RIM can do it, especially when Pre will be coming up with an even more refined multi-tasking platform, a platform that seems to not shackle you in your one app at a time UI, but a user interface designed to making multi tasking as easy as possible. That is the innovation I had hoped to see in 3.0, and what a disappointment it has been...



    The notification system does not feel like a sincere effort, it is just some "see, we have a remedy" useless attempt. I remember those days where the lack of multi tasking of Mac OS 9 was being justified as necessary and people would even defend it, while multi tasking was already available on Windows platforms.



    An inferior technology or a process does not have much of an argument or justification. If couple hacker kids are sitting down writing "backgrounder" applications to enhance their iphones, the best approach would be to yield and offer a better native multi-tasking solution, nothing half baked, real background processing with necessary software optimizations for good resource management and an awesome user interface that we are used to getting from the design team of Apple.



    Keeping a closed platform has its business model advantages, but sometimes humans like a platform too much and they are willing to use their brain power to circumvent the artificial barriers created to keep them dependent on whatever the company's business objectives are. This multi tasking battle won't go away until Apple yields, just like with the app store like we have seen last year!
  • Reply 16 of 67
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by arsan View Post


    Half baked efforts are simply not going to be sufficient This is like fixing an airplane wing with duck-tape, it won't work! On my current iphone, I already have skype, using mobilesubstrate, backgrounder, you can simply have it as an application running in the background. Once you install the "backgrounder" and try it only for five minutes, you will understand how useless the whole notification system is. Quick example, let's say you listen to pandora radio, or in my case the iphone app for a public radio station and you want to do something totally outrageous like writing a text message WHILE listening, you should be able to do it, or am I missing something? Is it better to quit my radio show and read the email and relaunch the radio app? Why should I tolerate that?



    Or, let's say you want to go for a jog and use the "running gypsy" application which is great to track where you went running, time, distance, pace, etc., and you have your ipod and want to change the play list or podcast, and since you can't truly run it in the background, the application won't work anymore, no notification system can solve this problem, I need the GPS data, pace data and once the app is quit, it won't be recorded. Before the "backgrounder" application, I had to create smart playlist of my podcasts in a certain order so that once I launch the running gypsy program, I would never have to quit the app. Why do I have to tolerate that?



    The competition is not sitting still. The excuse of battery life, lack of processing power simply is not credible when even windows mobile units can do it, RIM can do it, especially when Pre will be coming up with an even more refined multi-tasking platform, a platform that seems to not shackle you in your one app at a time UI, but a user interface designed to making multi tasking as easy as possible. That is the innovation I had hoped to see in 3.0, and what a disappointment it has been...



    The notification system does not feel like a sincere effort, it is just some "see, we have a remedy" useless attempt. I remember those days where the lack of multi tasking of Mac OS 9 was being justified as necessary and people would even defend it, while multi tasking was already available on Windows platforms.



    An inferior technology or a process does not have much of an argument or justification. If couple hacker kids are sitting down writing "backgrounder" applications to enhance their iphones, the best approach would be to yield and offer a better native multi-tasking solution, nothing half baked, real background processing with necessary software optimizations for good resource management and an awesome user interface that we are used to getting from the design team of Apple.



    Keeping a closed platform has its business model advantages, but sometimes humans like a platform too much and they are willing to use their brain power to circumvent the artificial barriers created to keep them dependent on whatever the company's business objectives are. This multi tasking battle won't go away until Apple yields, just like with the app store like we have seen last year!



    So given all that, let me ask you a question that I've asked before, in a different context:



    Why do you think Apple is approaching this the way they are?



    Is it because they are lazy? Incompetent? Stupid? Is that that they inexplicably want the iPhone to be less competitive? They hate their customers? Steve Jobs is insane?



    According to you, the barriers to multitasking are trivial. All their competitors can do it, kids in their basement with jail-broken phones can do it, and Apple's "excuses" are all laughable. It's not really about CPU heft or battery life or complexity. They're lying.



    Why? Apple seems to have done pretty well with the iPhone, to date, so they can't be complete idiots/hellspawn/crazy. In fact, failure to implement such a vital feature, which is so simple to do, would be seem to be a genuinely bizarre lapse, given Apple's track record here.



    Can you maybe clarify what you think Apple's motives are, for failing to deliver a wonderful feature that would require almost no effort, have no down side, and massively enhance the iPhone's desirability?
  • Reply 17 of 67
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Actually Apple did file new patents on notifications late last year. So its very possible Apple has not yet shown all of the UI changes to iPhone 3.0.







    Today's implementation is completely text-based, somewhat poorly formatted, and disappears once the user unlocks the handset -- leaving the user to rely on memory and the individual red icon notification badges in order to retrieve and reply to those transmissions.



    The iPhone team's filing instead proposes a more properly formatted notification panel -- in one of approximately a half dozen potential layouts -- that would not only remain visible once the phone is unlocked, but actually provide direct links or buttons to the missed communications.



    "In response to detecting an interaction by a user with the device, the plurality of icons display notification information for the plurality of communication modalities," the filing explains. "In response to detecting an unlock interaction by the user with the device, the device is unlocked, and a communication in the plurality of communications is presented that was received while the device was in the locked state, or information about the communication is presented."






    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    I guess it's too much to hope for at this point, but I really wish Apple could come up with some kind of unified notifications screen, assignable as a home screen (plus dock for primary apps). Maybe "above" the existing home screen? In practice that would work much like Android's pull-down notification screen, with docked icon badges working like the top bar alerts.



    Using changes to the icon badge is cool, but pop-up notifications proliferating from multiple apps is not.



  • Reply 18 of 67
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by arsan View Post


    Half baked efforts are simply not going to be sufficient This is like fixing an airplane wing with duck-tape, it won't work! On my current iphone, I already have skype, using mobilesubstrate, backgrounder, you can simply have it as an application running in the background. Once you install the "backgrounder" and try it only for five minutes, you will understand how useless the whole notification system is. Quick example, let's say you listen to pandora radio, or in my case the iphone app for a public radio station and you want to do something totally outrageous like writing a text message WHILE listening, you should be able to do it, or am I missing something? Is it better to quit my radio show and read the email and relaunch the radio app? Why should I tolerate that?



    If Apple only had a dime for everytime someone prophetically declared that something Apple did was not going to work. I guess they do, billions of them.



    Its a bit early to declare push notification a half baked effort that won't work. No other smartphone platform has the apps that were shown at the SDK introduction.



    I think what you are missing is the fact that the iPhone can contain 148 apps soon to be 176. Their is no practical way you could allow all of those apps to potentially run in the background.



    It would be supremely unpopular for Apple to cherry pick which apps they will allow to run in the background. Developers would be extremely upset if they felt certain apps were given special treatment over others. I think its wiser to treat them all equally.



    One day when Apple feels they have found a good way that does not sacrifice the user experience they will allow third party apps to run in the background.



    Quote:

    Before the "backgrounder" application, I had to create smart playlist of my podcasts in a certain order so that once I launch the running gypsy program, I would never have to quit the app. Why do I have to tolerate that?



    You don't have to tolerate that you have the option of using a different device you feel that better meets your needs.



    Quote:

    The competition is not sitting still. The excuse of battery life, lack of processing power simply is not credible when even windows mobile units can do it, RIM can do it, especially when Pre will be coming up with an even more refined multi-tasking platform, a platform that seems to not shackle you in your one app at a time UI, but a user interface designed to making multi tasking as easy as possible. That is the innovation I had hoped to see in 3.0, and what a disappointment it has been...



    This is because you don't understand the difference between the WM, BB, Pre and the iPhone. They all use very different types of software. None of those other platforms use development tools as rich and featured as the iPhone's.



    The Pre is using localized web apps which are not nearly as rich as the iPhone apps.



    Quote:

    The notification system does not feel like a sincere effort, it is just some "see, we have a remedy" useless attempt. I remember those days where the lack of multi tasking of Mac OS 9 was being justified as necessary and people would even defend it, while multi tasking was already available on Windows platforms.



    Who made this claim? Apple spent most of the 90's attempting to develop a new OS that included multi-tasking. The problem was they were not able to successfully do this until they bought NEXT and developed OS X.



    Quote:

    An inferior technology or a process does not have much of an argument or justification. If couple hacker kids are sitting down writing "backgrounder" applications to enhance their iphones, the best approach would be to yield and offer a better native multi-tasking solution, nothing half baked, real background processing with necessary software optimizations for good resource management and an awesome user interface that we are used to getting from the design team of Apple.



    Backgrounder isn't offering anything new. Multi-tasking is already built into the iPhone, backgrounder is simply allowing 3rd party apps to use it.



    Quote:

    Keeping a closed platform has its business model advantages, but sometimes humans like a platform too much and they are willing to use their brain power to circumvent the artificial barriers created to keep them dependent on whatever the company's business objectives are. This multi tasking battle won't go away until Apple yields, just like with the app store like we have seen last year!



    If multi-tasking on a phone was as important as you make it sound, why did the iPhone come into a mature market with several established competitors and dominate the way it has?



    I don't think you can make a declaration like this right now. We will have to wait and see how it all works out. There have been plenty of examples of companies touting functionality that does not properly work, or can even be detrimental to the user experience.
  • Reply 19 of 67
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,727member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by arsan View Post


    Half baked efforts are simply not going to be sufficient This is like fixing an airplane wing with duck-tape, it won't work!



    I'm not going to quote all of that.



    We aren't saying that this is the best method.



    Gee, APPLE isn't saying this is the best method!



    It isn't useless as your over the top post states.



    For many purposes it's just fine.



    At some point, Apple will likely have background apps as well
  • Reply 20 of 67
    ivan.rnn01ivan.rnn01 Posts: 1,822member
    developers have put enormous efforts into break out of what pre-historic pagers did. Business case, however, hasn't changed in a least iota since then. Everything customers want and everything marketing is selling them remains old good paging...



    Where's all that money gone?
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